Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Where to STUFF YOUR FACE: Mellow Mushroom

I woke up so happy this morning.


It's not because I got laid last night (I didn't), because it's a beautiful day (though it is) or because everyone reading this post right now is about to send me ONE MILLION DOLLARS (I'll link you to my PayPal account later).

NAY, dear readers -- it is because I stuffed my face full of cheese, dough and sauce like a goddamned glutton at the brand-spankin'-new D.C. franchise of Mellow Mushroom in Adams Morgan last night.

And I feel totally OK with that life choice.

I had heard of Mellow Mushroom before, when I dated a man who lived in Raleigh, N.C. Apparently, this rampant-illegal-narcotic-use-alluding pizza chain tends to crop up around college campuses in the South (you mean, students like to smoke pot and eat pizza? GET THE FUCK OUTTA TOWN.). And when I heard the joint (pun totes intended) was planning to open a location in D.C. on Monday, I simply had to be there for its opening night.

It is no secret the District is crying out for a decent pizza place. The much-ballyhooed spots we have now (Fuck you, Two Amys -- your paper-towel-thin excuse for a pizza ruins EVERYTHING) are just not cutting it. So, I gathered a crew of intrepid pizza lovers and set out for the little strip of 18th Street Northwest where Jumbo Slice usually reigns supreme. (Also: Fuck you, Jumbo Slice -- you suck at life but I can't stop eating you when I'm drunk.)

In its Southern variations, Mellow Mushroom is very much a hippie-dippie spot, seemingly straight out of the 1960s. In a buttoned-up, collared-shirt, don't-put-these-pictures-of-me-on-Facebook-because-I'm-planning-to-run-for-office city like D.C., however, I'm not sure that sort of environment would fly. Fortunately, whoever is responsible for the AdMo location -- which is in the building where 18th and Red used to be -- realized this fact and steered the place toward a circus-sideshow theme:

Images courtesy of Justin Cook
That's particularly awesome because ever since Palace of Wonders on H Street Northeast joined forces with the Red and the Black to become Red Palace, siphoning off all the character that made Palace of Wonders worth going to in the first place, D.C. has been suffering from a distinct lack of circus-sideshow-themed establishments. Win 1 for Mellow Mushroom.

It was the pizza place's opening night, so of course there were a few hiccups: Their table buzzers appeared to be faulty, lighting up and vibrating to alert us a table was available for our group when, in fact, no such table existed; additionally, the dining room lights kept flickering. They were also out of a couple of the beers on their extensive beer menu, which was disappointing, but understandably not out of the realm of possibility for a first run-through.

We decided on three pizzas:

The Red Skin Potato Pie

Olive oil- and garlic-based pizza loaded with red potato,
Applewood-smoked bacon, carmelized onions, cheddar
and mozzerella cheese, sprinkled with chives and drizzled
with sour cream and spicy Ranch dressing

The Philosopher's Pie

Olive oil- and garlic-based pizza with grilled steak, portobello
mushrooms, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, and provolone,
feta and mozzerella cheeses

And the Funky Q Chicken

Barbecued chicken, mozzerella and cheddar cheeses,
carmelized onions, Applewood-smoked bacon and a
barbecue-sauce swirl

I think I can speak for all of us when I say: FOOD-GASM.

The Red Skin Potato Pie tasted just like a loaded baked potato, except more awesome. The meat on the Funky Q Chicken was tender and delicious. And the Philosopher's Pie? The freshest kalamata olives paired with perfectly grilled steak. Win 2 for Mellow Mushroom.

Everything was just. so. good. Our table, which had been energetic and noisy prior to being served, immediately got quiet as we shoveled in the doughy delight. (And that's another thing that's awesome -- the dough has a honey-wheat flavor, a welcome sweetness to cut the saltiness of the toppings.)

Even better, Mellow Mushroom boasts a pretty impressive beer list, and if you join their beer club and try 75 of them, you get a special mug and other prizes. Naturally, I joined, as did my dinner compatriots.

I'm definitely going back, especially in about eight months when the summer swelter sweeps over the District again -- Mellow Mushroom has a KICK-ASS open-air roof deck. WIN 3!


  1. First discovered the Mellow Mushroom down in Nashville. I'm dying to try the one in Adams Morgan!

  2. I like how who ever is seated behind the pizza in picture one is clutching her hands to her chest as if so excited she can hardly stand it! lol.